22 July, 2010

Frunday, Misinformation, And Aesthetic Damnation

Frunday, Misinformation, And Aesthetic Damnation

7.21.10


Today is Wednesday. But if you’re reading this on Thursday, then it’s Thursday. If you’re reading this on Tuesday, it’s Tuesday. If you’re reading this on Frunday, you’re either crazy or Jarrod; he’s the only one but me who enjoys Frunday. Now you too can enjoy Frunday. In addition to it’s being Frunday, it also seems to be the day of idiots having loud conversation of little or no consequence at the bookstore. Everything to people who have run into celebrities to arguments over who is taking the baby, his mother or hers. It’s terribly irritating. I might look like a lunatic. I might rock back and forth while I write. I might even trickle the tiniest creek of pee down my leg without realizing it, and then jump up and say something like, “Otis ‘Uppercut’ Jones is the greatest funk bass player of the mid to late seventies!” But at least I’m quiet.

In addition to the people around me being insanely irritating, they are also stupid. I don’t know that for a fact, but those who ask dumb questions about your mods are usually idiots. Don’t worry; I’m polite to them. I answer. Like the kid in the Wawa before I came here who asked me what gauge my gauges were. Some days, I don’t have the energy to correct people, considering that I’m wearing 1 ⅛” tunnels. Other days, I’m an asshole. And still other days, I crave those cupcakes with the swirly white curly cue of frosting on the top.

I was traversing the internet, and I arrived at more stupid questions from stupid people. The problem with these questions is that they were answered by unqualified people. On an ‘Ask The Moron’ column on www.newsok.com, which is a news paper for everything Oklahoman, someone wrote asking the three women who run the column if tattoos were “the rage” now, and if “everyone” has one. And also, about their removal. The three women, one in her twenties, one in her forties, and one in her sixties, attempt to lend their perspective toward the dumb question.

Why am I writing this, and why should we care? Good questions, me. Well, first off, it vexes me that unqualified people are sharing information that ignorant question askers assume to be knowledgeable. For example, I don’t know dick about diverticulitis. If someone asked me about it, I could spend five minutes on wikipedia, and circumnavigate the question enough for that person to come away with a sense that I know what I’m talking about. That seems to be what a lot of these advise columnists do in terms of modification. For some reason, modification falls under the bumbershoot of fashion more so than it does culture. But that’s a different rant for a different day. Here, let’s talk about these women and their poopy pants dumbness.

The first attempt to answer the dumb question was made by the twenty-something, Callie. Callie refutes the idea that tattoos are the “rage,” but offers that many people do have them. Brilliant avoidance. Callie also poots forth the idea that some people like the art and that it has “meaning behind” it, and some just like the feeling of being tattooed. I agree with the meaning thing. Of course what we scar into our bodies for the rest of forever has some sort of meaning. Very few people I know have gotten tattooed just because. They exemplify our likes, our dislikes, our beliefs, our remembrances. Callie also talks about how laser tattoo removal isn’t guaranteed, and it is the only way to try for removal. We all know that’s not true, but the misinformation is much easier to explain than factual info. As a compromise for all of this, Callie offers the henna tattoo solution. Which is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard, since her introduction talks about permanency and meaning and the sensation of being modded.

The second person to share her thoughts is the forty year old, Lillie-Beth. Lillie-Beth offers some data provided by studies that point toward her opinions, which include generational percentages for those with mods. We’ve all read these. The tone of her little blurb is slightly offensive. She recognizes that there is a stigma on the modded culture, but quickly uses the word ‘they’ repeatedly to point to the behavior of our culture. She explains that you’ll “run into tattooed people” just about everywhere. That we provide very pedestrian services such as “running Girl Scout meetings, and selling you things.” She explains that we are “friends, co-workers, and acquaintances” as if we clandestinely have a modded grip on everyday life without the unmodded people knowing. That’s slightly offensive. The implication that one has to be told that we in the modded culture do normal, everyday things, and that we’re right under their unmodified noses assumes that what we do is a secretive thing, and that we have a certain shame that requires our hiding of our mods. Lillie-Beth continues with the idea that tattoos no longer have shock value, which again assumes that what we do is fringe or that we do it for attention. She concludes with her hope that her children experiment with hairstyles rather than permanent mods to save her the stress.

Lastly, Helen, the sixty year old, weighs in with her thoughts, which are brief and uninteresting. Helen offers that more tattoos have become visible in recent years, but refutes the ‘rage’ idea. She offers the idea that women are getting microdermal tattoos to simulate make up (permanent make up, she calls it), and ventures quickly into the idea of possible disease, infection, allergies and scarring. Helen as well discusses briefly the desire to remove them and the difficulty therein. She does conclude with an interest in microdermal tattoos on her lips.

There is also a bonus, guest answer from a professor of etiquette (“I don’t even think that’s a real thing.” Name that movie.), Devonne, who has a whole bunch of nothing to say in regards to etiquette, which is why I assume she was asked to comment. She does present the idea that there may be a boom in tattoo modification in Oklahoma because it was only recently made legal.

The differences in each woman’s perspective are interesting, given the point of life of each. That’s about all that’s interesting about this little advice column nonsense. There is an underlying idea here that assumes that each of us with tattoo modification will some day grow tired of our mods and wish them to be removed. That seems to be a common theme among unmodified people when discussing tattoo modification. It’s like cigarette psa’s targeted at smokers, informing them that smoking is unhealthy. No shit. I’m a smoker and not an idiot. It is a possibility to be. Just as the way unmodded people will present the idea of permanency to a modded person as if it were never a consideration. No shit. We know it’s permanent. There is an obsession with the permanency because, I assume, people are the most indecisive creatures on the planet. We have kids, but we also have laws that relinquish our responsibility toward them. We have weddings, but we also have the ability to clean slate it and try again. Who is the last person you’ve met that has only ever had one job, and never been fired? We change everything, I got that. It doesn’t seem to be in our nature to want to maintain the same forever. But modified people know this, and we have chosen to include this art within our forever. It’s an awkward way of controlling our futures. Whatever occurs in the future, these tattoos will be there.

Also, it oughtn’t be a surprise that we modded people are doing everyday things. That idea is terribly insulting. Right now, I’m wearing a shirt and tie (because I’m in a cover band and this is our uniform), and I had a stranger ask me what kind of job I can have that lets me be pierced, tattooed, and wear a tie. There is an underlying idea that we are damning ourselves aesthetically instead of moving the standards of acceptance forward. This aesthetic damnation, and the perception of our culture tethered to it, is grossly misread by those outside of the culture. Will the woman who asked the question in this newsok.com column read that we have normal jobs and maintain everyday relationships and be surprised? Will she look at people and think, “I wonder if he’s tattooed.” And if she does, what does that change about her perception toward society at large? Nothing. It is of no consequence whatsoever.

We are not a scourge, we are not a fad, we are not all the rage. We are a culture of people that blends the perceptions of aesthetically comfortably people from different ethnicities and beliefs into one society of beauty. That seems pretty simple for anyone to understand, but I suppose if you’re looking at mod through fashion’s idiotic lenses, modification is a thing that will come and go, ebb and flow like bellbottoms and styles of eyebrow plucking. We know that’s not true, and in a way, it’s like we have a secret that we willingly share with strangers that they desperately want to know, but won’t accept when it we tell them. Stay beautiful, kids.

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